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Sean Hannity and Oliver North Sing A New Tune About Abu Ghraib And Iraq: Hey, S*** Happens!

Reported by Ellen - May 26, 2006

During last night’s (5/25/06) Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity and Oliver North shrugged off the mea culpas from President Bush and Tony Blair during their press conference earlier that day as no big deal. The war is going well Hannity and North insisted, and what the heck? Mistakes happen in all wars. Both Hannity and North conveniently forgot that they once defended the president over the very things Bush was now admitting were wrongs.

The New York Times reported that Bush said “The American military’s biggest mistake was the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, where photographs of detainees showed them in degrading and abusive conditions. ‘We’ve been paying for that for a long period of time,’ Mr. Bush said, his voice heavy with regret."

North was part of another “fair and balanced” line-up of pundits consisting of two Republicans - North and Bob Novak - and Dennis Kucinich as the one Democrat. In typical FOX News fashion, the Republicans went first and last while the Democrat was sandwiched (no doubt with the hope he'd be forgotten) in the middle. North went first.

Both Hannity and North lamented the likelihood that the headlines from the press conference would be “Bush and Blair Acknowledge Setbacks.” “I see a bigger issue here,” Hannity said. He thought the big news was that Iraqi forces will be able to take care of themselves in 18 months. “We’re really beginning to see the beginning of the end here.” (Never mind that before the war Donald Rumsfeld said, “It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months” or that Dick Cheney said, “It will go relatively quickly… in weeks rather than months.”)

Hannity added that “One of the things that I’ve learned watching (North’s FOX News program War Stories) and my reading of history, there’s no war that I can think of that has gone perfectly. There’s no war that the planning has been perfect. There’s no war where there hasn’t been friendly fire. There’s no war that has gone as planned in that sense. You think that perspective, that historical perspective needed to be emphasized as it was tonight?”

“Let me give you a historical perspective 61 years ago.” North recounted that 60 years ago to the day, the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided to invade Japan and appointed General MacArthur to lead the operation, despite a prediction of a million casualties. Coincidentally, that just happened to be the subject of this week’s War Stories.

Then North made an implicit comparison of George W. Bush to General MacArthur. “MacArthur had the courage to stand up and say ‘I will lead America’s forces into that invasion even though we know it’s going to be terribly costly.'”

North acknowledged that “we all grieve for the 2800 casualties that have occurred in combat in the global war on terrorism.” Apparently, he didn’t think it worth grieving over any of the Iraqi casualties – you know, those people we’re supposedly dying to liberate. Nonetheless, North tried to minimize the US losses by saying, “This has been remarkably, remarkably light on casualties compared to the kind of adversary we’re up against.”

Alan Colmes asked, “When Bush finally said ‘I made a mistake. Bring ‘em on was a mistake, Abu Ghraib was a mistake that we’re still paying for,' and people like you have defended the president, both in that first comment he made and with Abu Ghraib. Are you now going to stop defending this, now that the president has finally acknowledged that these were mistakes he made?”

North sputtered a bit before answering. “Let’s be very, very clear, Alan. I’ve been on with you too many times for you to get away with THAT. I have said that Abu Ghraib was TERRIBLE and the fact is, it’s been beaten like a rented mule by the media for the better part of two years for what, the crimes of a dozen people. This is not American policy. It was never the policy of the administration. And the fact is, as the president pointed out tonight, those who perpetrated the crimes have been punished. You ought to get off it.”

In fact, North should know that he just told two complete falsehoods. In the first place, not all the guilty have been punished. One of the Abu Ghraib trials is going on right now for a prison dog handler, Army Sgt. Santos A. Cardona. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who is suspected of being involved in the abuse, testified at that trial yesterday. As the L.A. Times reports, Miller invoked his right against self-incrimination and refused to testify at an earlier abuse-related trial but the limited scope of Cardona’s trial “prevented defense lawyers from more deeply exploring Miller's role at the prison.”

Second, here are a few quotes from North indicating that he did not believe Abu Ghraib was terrible. For example, on June 18, 2004, North said on Hannity’s radio show:

Well, let me say it again -- those who continue these hearings on Abu Ghraib, trying to create the -- out of the malfeasance of 15 or 20 malefactors, and moving it into the realm of international scandal, have created the situation where they refer to Abu Ghraib and murdering people like Paul Johnson and conducting these kinds of heinous acts, and those politicians and those people in the media who keep this story alive as though it were some horrific crime -- it was a crime, but it's not horrific -- they keep it alive, they give ammunition to our enemies, and they do have blood on their hands.

On May 11, 2004, North said on Hannity & Colmes,

Alan -- Alan, for 13 or 14 days now, all we have seen on the front pages of America's newspapers is a group of obviously twisted young people with leashes and weird sex acts, the kind of thing that you might find on any college campus nowadays, being perpetrated by people in uniform.

Sean Hannity, too, once dismissed Abu Ghraib as no big deal. On the June 7, 2005 broadcast of The View, Hannity told Rosie O'Donnell, "There was underwear on the head of one of them. We're not raping and killing anybody."

(H/T Media Matters)

Colmes never had the opportunity to respond because the segment was over.

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